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Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

The gardening hacks that will save you time and effort

By Vaseline May31,2024
The gardening hacks that will save you time and effort

Clever tricks and gardening tips

<p>NinaMalyna / Shutterstock</p><p>NinaMalyna / Shutterstock</p>

NinaMalyna / Shutterstock

The knowledge and hard work needed to grow and maintain a garden can quickly feel like an unwelcome addition to your to-do list. Never fear, though, because we’ve rounded up some the best growing tips and hacks out there, that make gardening easier and more enjoyable.

Whether you have a tiny backyard or expansive rolling lawns, click or scroll for graft-saving tricks that will ensure you have a plot to be proud of – and plenty of spare time to actually enjoy it!

Use plant markers

<p>Agriframes</p><p>Agriframes</p>

Whether you’re planting bulbs or creating a delicious herb garden, it can be hard to differentiate your flowers and plants once they’re in the soil.

Stay organised by sticking plant markers into the soil by each plant species. Whether you choose reusable ones, like these sustainable bamboo markers from Agriframes, or make your own with biodegradable lollypop sticks, they’ll be a godsend when it comes to reading up on plant care.

Opt for smart irrigation

<p>Verve at B&Q</p><p>Verve at B&Q</p>

If you’re pressed for time or away from home regularly, it can be hard to commit to watering your garden. Fortunately, there are gadgets out there that do it for you.

The Gardena Smart Irrigation Control Set can water six separate zones in your garden, all handily controlled with an app and a sensor to determine how much water your garden needs.

If you’d prefer a more manual approach, then the Micro-Drip Verve Irrigation kit from B&Q can be connected to your outdoor tap, so you can water all areas of the garden in one go.

Reuse teabags on your roses

<p>Rachel Homer</p><p>Rachel Homer</p>

Tea leaves contain nutrients and tannic acid that are fantastic natural fertilisers for the garden. “As the leaves and bag decompose they release the nutrients into the soil, creating an ideal growing area,” explains The Rainforest Site. “They help retain water and many gardeners plant them next to the roots of their plants.”

Bury teabags in the earth around the plant base, or scatter used tea leaves as topsoil. Quick… pop the kettle on!

Download a plant app

<p>Rachel Homer</p><p>Rachel Homer</p>

Identifying a plant specimen can make a world of difference when it comes to successful gardening, but with so much to learn, it can be daunting for a novice gardener.

Make like you are a green-fingered god or goddess by seeking digital help. From plant identifiers that can instantly find over 20,000 plants, to garden trackers and calendar planners, there’s a garden app to download that will cover it. One of our favourites is Garden Answers.

Mount corner shelves in a small shed

<p>Forest</p><p>Forest</p>

Make use of every inch of storage space in your shed, by installing corner shelves on one side for small garden items. Keep the other side free for tools with long handles. Don’t forget the inside of the door either; a peg rail and additional shelf are handy for hanging hand tools and storing pots.

Invest in an extendable hose

<p>Garden Trading</p><p>Garden Trading</p>

Unravelling a heavy garden hose full of kinks can be a dreaded garden chore, so perhaps it’s time for an upgrade? Make watering your garden a pleasure by switching to a lightweight extendable version that will double in size when in use and then self drain and store easily afterwards. A hose with a high-density sleeve will last longer and prevent splitting.

DIY a privacy screen

<p>ellie1973 / Shutterstock</p><p>ellie1973 / Shutterstock</p>

Repurpose a wooden pallet to create a rustic privacy screen, or use it to hide away unsightly wheelie bins or a compost heap. The slatted design makes the perfect trellis to grow climbers up, too.

Pop seeds into ice cream cones

<p>LStockStudio / Shutterstock</p><p>LStockStudio / Shutterstock</p>

LStockStudio / Shutterstock

Ice cream cones make for a cute and eco-friendly seedling starter container. It’s a fun way to get children involved and they can be popped directly into the soil, as the cones act as a warm shield and then biodegrade over time. Flour & Fancies advises cutting the bottom half off the cone before planting. ​

Water pots after rain

<p>Dobbies</p><p>Dobbies</p>

Leaving pots unwatered because it rained is a rookie mistake in the gardening world. Unless it’s a torrential downpour, a regular shower won’t be an adequate amount to satisfy a potted plant’s needs.

They tend to dry out quicker than natural earth flowerbeds, so a potted plant should be watered, on average, every other day. Read up on your specific plants to gain more information as to how much H2O they need to flourish, as too much can be as damaging as too little.

Craft a DIY watering can

<p>Valerie Quemener / Shutterstock</p><p>Valerie Quemener / Shutterstock</p>

Valerie Quemener / Shutterstock

If you don’t have a watering can to hand, or you simply like a DIY approach, then old plastic milk and water bottles can quickly be turned into free watering utensils.

Simply remove the label from the bottle and give it a good rinse in warm water. Then, (carefully) make some little holes in the lid, using a metal skewer or small screwdriver head. A small piece of blue tack (or a piece of cork) at the other side will stop you from damaging any surfaces or hurting yourself! Fill the bottle up with water, screw on the lid and get watering!

Go vertical

<p>B&Q</p><p>B&Q</p>

Are you limited on outside space, but still want to grow herbs, veggies or even lush flowers? “When it comes to cultivating a garden in limited spaces, creativity becomes your best ally,” explains Gardenesque. “Turn your small space into a vertical wonderland by investing in plant towers. These tiered structures not only save floor space but also create a visually stunning display of your favourite plants and herbs.”

You can also hang a grow bag, like this B&Q number. The eyelets allow it to be quickly secured to a wall or fence and once in position, each of the pockets can be filled with compost and plants to create a beautiful display. A repurposed shoe organiser will do the same job!

Water the garden in the morning

<p>alexkich / Shutterstock</p><p>alexkich / Shutterstock</p>

According to the Royal Horticultural Society, the best time to water your garden is in the morning, “as this is when the sun comes up and plants will start to use water”. The foliage and soil surface are also likely to stay drier for longer than evening watering, discouraging slugs, snails and mildew diseases.

Just remember, watering in the heat of the day is a bad idea, as a lot of water will be lost through evaporation and plants use water more efficiently if watered during the cooler parts of the day.

Double pot your plants

<p>KarepaStock / Shutterstock</p><p>KarepaStock / Shutterstock</p>

KarepaStock / Shutterstock

Make reorganising the garden easy by double planting your pots. Bury empty pots into flowerbeds at ground level and then slot filled pots into the holders. Simple but effective, it will make reorganising your foliage or swapping out seasonal plants a doddle.

Craft potato growing pots

<p>Wilko.com</p><p>Wilko.com</p>

Make harvesting vegetables a breeze with a double-potted container. Select two plastic tubs or buckets that slot into one another and simply cut large holes out of the smaller pot (as well as drainage holes in both). Then, when ready, you can pull out potatoes without upturning the whole plant. Or, if that sounds too complicated, you can buy one that is specially made to produce a bumper crop, like this potato grower from Wilko.com.

Stick to a lawn mowing rota

<p>Virrage Images / Shutterstock</p><p>Virrage Images / Shutterstock</p>

Virrage Images / Shutterstock

Be sure your lawn is in optimum health by using your lawn mower the correct way. Keep it clean and free of grass cuttings. Adjust the blade heights accordingly and cut your grass at regular intervals, depending on the month of the year.

In spring and autumn, the Royal Horticultural Society recommends mowing once a fortnight, moving to weekly in summer – unless there is a period of drought – and refraining completely in winter. Sticking to a routine will mean less weeding and TLC in the long run.

Upcycle an old table

<p>Garden Trading</p><p>Garden Trading</p>

Keep a lookout for old tables at recycling centres, flea markets or on social marketplaces to upcycle as garden furniture. They make an interesting extra surface for potting, storing or displaying attractive potted plants. Plus, it will give country gardens added vintage character.

 

Line plant pots with coffee filters

<p>Paisley + Sparrow</p><p>Paisley + Sparrow</p>

Terracotta pots will never go out of style, but their large drainage hole makes them messy accessories to have in your garden. Keep your patio tidy and avoid continuous clean-ups by following in the footsteps of Jen at Paisley + Sparrow, who lines her plant pots with coffee filters. They stop soil from falling out of the bottom of pots, while their porous nature will ensure water can still drain away. Genius!

Squeeze out weeds

<p>Ozgur Coskun / Shutterstock</p><p>Ozgur Coskun / Shutterstock</p>

Ozgur Coskun / Shutterstock

It’s common sense that the more flowers you plant the less room there is for weeds to grow. While this is true, there needs to be a little planning with this method. Choose ground-covering plants that will suit the conditions – plant those that prefer shade in dark corners and those that need sun in well-lit spots. Once they flourish and spread, they’ll prevent weeds from getting the sunlight, water and nutrients they need to survive.

Use bottles to protect seedlings

<p>VPales / Shutterstock</p><p>VPales / Shutterstock</p>

Give old drinks bottles a new lease of life in the garden. Cut the bottles in half and secure them in the soil around young shoots to keep plants and vegetables safe from hungry insects or rodents. The narrow mouth will let plenty of air and sunlight in and the plastic surround will act as a micro greenhouse.

Dust seedlings with cinnamon

<p>Oksana Shufrych / Shutterstock</p><p>Oksana Shufrych / Shutterstock</p>

Oksana Shufrych / Shutterstock

Cinnamon is as good for plants as it is for humans. “There are almost countless uses for cinnamon in the garden: it can be used as a nature-friendly pesticide, a repellent against annoying insects, or as a catalyst to promote root growth in plant cuttings,” Plantura explains.

Scientific studies have found that cinnamon works against fungal pathogens. “Under laboratory conditions, scientists have shown that the elements in cinnamon powder inhibit the development of grey mould (Botrytis cinerea) and various species of Phytophthora.” Spraying a mixture of ground cinnamon and water onto infected plants is an effective way to alleviate the symptoms of fungal infestations, too.

Opt for fake colourful florals

<p>Blooming Artificial</p><p>Blooming Artificial</p>

Let’s face it, real garden beds are the last place people would expect to see artificial flowers, so visitors will never guess your incredible garden flower display is fake. The same goes for hanging baskets, window boxes and patio tubs, too – we won’t tell if you don’t! Blooming Artificial creates everything from faux outdoor trees to gorgeous seasonal blooms.

Use seaweed as fertiliser

<p>Steve Cordory / Shutterstock</p><p>Steve Cordory / Shutterstock</p>

Steve Cordory / Shutterstock

Bursting with nutrients and minerals, seaweed has been used to enrich soil for centuries. There are so many benefits to using it in your garden – unlike other fertilisers, it doesn’t need to mature to work its magic and it helps to keep soil moist. Plus, insects and birds hate its sharp and salty taste. So, the next time you head to the beach, don’t forget to bring a bucket back for your garden.

Fend off slugs with copper

<p>Mulevich / Shutterstock</p><p>Mulevich / Shutterstock</p>

Slugs and snails hate copper because it gives them a harmless electric shock when they come into contact with it. This soon sends them crawling off in a different direction and away from your plants.

Whether you protect your beloved shrubs with copper rings dug into the flowerbeds, or stick copper tape around the top of flowerpots and raised beds, you can rest assured these garden pests will want to munch plants elsewhere.

Clean decking and patios with a jet washer

<p>bubutu / Shutterstock</p><p>bubutu / Shutterstock</p>

A sunny stone patio or decked terrace can be a great spot for growing beautiful blooms, but over winter it can look worse for wear when dirt, mould or green algae take over.

Luckily, it can be renewed in just a couple of hours with the force of a jet wash. The pressure will wash away stubborn debris and algae, with no need for scrubbing or the use of harsh chemicals. Be sure to read the instruction manual, as in the wrong hands the machine can be dangerous or cause damage to hard landscaping. Gloves, goggles and a mask are recommended.

Upcycle homewares

<p>Natalia Greeske / Shutterstock</p><p>Natalia Greeske / Shutterstock</p>

Natalia Greeske / Shutterstock

Old utensils can make quirky garden planters. Teacups filled with dainty violas will add vintage charm, while colanders make perfect hanging baskets thanks to their many drainage holes. You can even plant old saucepans with vegetables like chillis and cherry tomatoes, to make a funky mini allotment.

Build a crate potting shelf

<p>Cuckooland</p><p>Cuckooland</p>

If you’re not lucky enough to own a potting shed, build a mini potting shelf instead. This one is ready-made, but it can easily be replicated using reclaimed crates and you can personalise it with a splash of colour or some arty touches. Create compartments for equipment and hang from an external wall for easy access. You could even install a pull-down shelf to use as a work surface.

Deadhead flowers regularly

<p>Dobbies</p><p>Dobbies</p>

Deadheading flowers is a simple task but if done regularly, it can benefit your garden in several ways. Removing brown or mushy heads keeps the plant looking tidy and attractive and it also encourages plants to set more flower heads. It also allows plants to conserve energy and stop excessive self-seeding. “It’s best to deadhead flowering plants regularly, whatever the season, removing flowers as soon as they start to fade,” The Royal Horticultural Society suggests.

Invest in a water butt

<p>Lea Rae / Shutterstock</p><p>Lea Rae / Shutterstock</p>

There are so many advantages to owning a water butt – not only will it put a dent in your water bill by reducing your mains water consumption but rainwater has no chemicals in so it’s much kinder to your plants.

Amazingly, a water butt could save you about 30,000 million litres of water every summer, according to SaveMoneyCutCarbon. That’s enough to fill an entire reservoir. A large butt will provide a big supply and keep the whole garden fed during the thirsty summer months.

Be thrifty with eggshells

<p>ThamKC / Shutterstock</p><p>ThamKC / Shutterstock</p>

Once you’ve enjoyed your morning eggs, don’t waste the eggshells – they’re the perfect addition to your garden. A great composting option, they also deter garden pests like slugs. Plus, chicken egg shells are comprised of about 96% calcium carbonate, which is an essential plant nutrient and moderates soil acidity.

“Fast-growing plants deplete the soil of calcium very quickly, so egg shells are an ideal supplement and feed for outdoor flowers, vegetables and fruit trees in your garden,” says Gardenesque. Simply rinse them, crush them and spread them around the base of your plants for a multitude of benefits.

Create self-watering bottle planters

<p>ULD media / Shutterstock</p><p>ULD media / Shutterstock</p>

Give yourself a break from constant watering by planting upside-down filled drinks bottle in pots and flowerbeds. Wedge the bottle near the plant, at least a few inches deep. Water will gently seep out over a long period, keeping the surrounding soil moist. This handy hack is perfect if you’re away from home for a long stretch, too.

Reduce lawn labour

<p>NinaMalyna / Shutterstock</p><p>NinaMalyna / Shutterstock</p>

NinaMalyna / Shutterstock

A well-aerated lawn is important for grass vitality, as it prevents weeds, moss and waterlogging. We love these cheat lawn spike shoes, as they replace the back-breaking maintenance work with an easy stroll around the garden.

Deter animals

<p>Kristine Rad / Shutterstock</p><p>Kristine Rad / Shutterstock</p>

Kristine Rad / Shutterstock

As much as we love nature, four-legged pests can do a lot of damage to gardens, which can be extremely frustrating when you’ve worked so hard for results. A pest repeller is a humane way of keeping unwanted visitors out. It emits a high-frequency sound that most humans can’t hear, but animals find disturbing. Some also shoot out a bright flash of light as an extra discouragement. Some models are even solar-powered, so don’t come with any messy wires.

Secure climbers with zip ties

<p>Peter Turner Photography / Shutterstock</p><p>Peter Turner Photography / Shutterstock</p>

Peter Turner Photography / Shutterstock

Climbing plants can quickly become unruly. Keep your trailing foliage under control with canes or a trellis and instead of buying costly plant ties, fix your greenery in place with common household zip ties. A bit of garden string will also do the job!

Invite natural visitors

<p>Gardenesque</p><p>Gardenesque</p>

While some garden insects might be considered a nuisance, most are extremely beneficial. Make a bug hotel to attract the right kinds of insects to pollinate flowers and keep pests away. You can buy bug hotels in all shapes and sizes, but you can just as easily build your own using small logs, sticks, bricks and pieces of rotting wood. This how-to guide from the Woodland Trust will show you how to create a DIY motel.

Make a pallet hanger

<p>thrax.de / Shutterstock</p><p>thrax.de / Shutterstock</p>

DIY pallet projects are all over Pinterest and Instagram and are a great way to reuse old materials and make outdoor spaces more practical. Whether you transform a pallet into a suspended planting rack or a hanging tool organiser, these reclaimed – and often free – items make inexpensive and creative additions to gardens.

Keep garden tools clean and sharp

<p>Sophie Allport</p><p>Sophie Allport</p>

Get crafty and make gardening a whole lot easier with this ingenious DIY hack. Create your own self-cleaning and self-sharpening garden tool holder by filling a terracotta pot with sand and mineral oil. The abrasiveness of the sand helps to keep tools sharp, while the oil protects them against rust and dirt. It’s a simple but effective way of keeping your tools in great shape.

Serve compost tea

<p>Vasilii Kosarev / Shutterstock</p><p>Vasilii Kosarev / Shutterstock</p>

Vasilii Kosarev / Shutterstock

Did you know plants love a nice cup of tea just as much as we do? Once blended and brewed it is said to be packed with nutrients that feed hungry roots, while boosting soil quality.

​How in-depth you want to make your tea is up to you. Some simply soak shredded leaves from the plant you want to feed in boiling water and pour it back on (once cooled and strained). Or, like this idea on Dengarden, you can brew up a more luxurious and concentrated blend; you’ll need a 19-litre (five-gallon) bucket, an aquarium air pump and good-quality compost.

Keep a compost drum in the garden

<p>Verve at B&Q</p><p>Verve at B&Q</p>

The art of composting is striking the right balance between wet and dry materials. Keep a compost drum in your garden to biodegrade food waste, grass cuttings and any paper recycling you might have. Eventually, you’ll end up with a powerful free compost that your soil will love.

Keep a compost caddy in the kitchen

<p>Funky Chunky Furniture Co.</p><p>Funky Chunky Furniture Co.</p>

Funky Chunky Furniture Co.

Kitchen food waste makes a nutritious natural fertiliser for your garden. Keep a caddy in your kitchen or utility room to store food scraps that you can add to your garden composter in bulk. Vegetable peelings and tea leaves are great for the garden, while things like meat, fish, bones, dairy, fats and oils should be avoided, as they take time to decompose, can be odorous and even attract rodents.

Imbed your compost bin

<p>Verve at B&Q</p><p>Verve at B&Q</p>

If carrying compost from one part of the garden to another sounds like too much effort, why not invest in an in-ground compost bin? For example, the Verve Submergeable Composter from B&Q can be buried in the ground. Its holes allow worms to enter the bin and break down the scraps, drawing the nutrients back into the surrounding soil.

Keep an organised shed

<p>Annabel James</p><p>Annabel James</p>

Make chores a whole lot easier by taking some simple measures before you start. For example, spray your shovel with a lubricant before you begin digging – this will help stop soil sticking to the surface.

Always be sure to remove sap from your secateurs, as it can cause them to stick. Use a penknife to lift away, then rub with steel wool and lubricating oil. Don’t forget a pair of gardening gloves and sturdy covered shoes to prevent injuries, too.

Use mulch

<p>Andy.M / Shutterstock</p><p>Andy.M / Shutterstock</p>

Mulch is amazing stuff! It smells good, fertilises plants and is a great alternative to bare soil and even grass, as you don’t need to water or mow it. “Mulching is generally used to save water, suppress weeds and improve the soil around plants but it also gives your garden a neat, tidy appearance and can reduce the amount of time spent on tasks such as watering and weeding,” the Royal Horticultural Society says. It also helps soil retain moisture in summer, allowing rain to penetrate and protecting the plants’ roots in winter.

Use a robot to mow your lawn

<p>Vladyslav Horoshevych / Shutterstock</p><p>Vladyslav Horoshevych / Shutterstock</p>

Vladyslav Horoshevych / Shutterstock

Make like the Jetsons and get a robot to do all the boring stuff in your home and garden. A robotic lawnmower won’t just save you time but also guarantees even mowing results. And they’re a lot quieter than traditional mowers, too, so you’ll get brownie points with your neighbours.

Order plants by post

<p>YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock</p><p>YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock</p>

YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock

You don’t have to spend your weekends in garden centres or plant nurseries to have an attractive backyard. Shopping online not only gives you time to research exactly what you want, but it often works out significantly cheaper, too. What’s more, you can buy everything from seeds to fully-grown plants. Check out the offers pages of online retailers like Thompson & Morgan and Marshalls Garden.

Use coffee grounds wisely

<p>Monthira / Shutterstock</p><p>Monthira / Shutterstock</p>

Don’t throw away your coffee grounds once you’re done with your morning brew. Used coffee grounds are a great slug and snail repellent and they make a good slow-release fertiliser, too. “Coffee grounds contain nutrients that plants use for growth,” Gardeners’ World suggests. “The grounds are relatively high in nitrogen and also contain potassium and phosphorus, as well as being a source of moist organic matter.”

However, it’s best to apply coffee in moderation. “The chief potential problem is that if applied in quantity to the soil surface, the fine particles clog together to form a barrier that prevents water and air from reaching plant roots.” Gardeners’ World advises that the “safest way to use coffee grounds in the garden is to add them to compost containers or worm bins”.

Opt for low-maintenance plants

<p>chomplearn / Shutterstock</p><p>chomplearn / Shutterstock</p>

chomplearn / Shutterstock

If you’re not keen on spending time maintaining different types of plants with varying needs, stick to one or two low-maintenance varieties to make life simple. Evergreen shrubs can be a great option as they don’t need too much attention and can be left to their own devices.

Take a look at your garden and do a bit of research, taking into account how sunny or shady it is before deciding which shrubs are right for your space.

Mow your leaves

<p>konecny / Shutterstock</p><p>konecny / Shutterstock</p>

Raking leaves up each autumn can seem like a thankless task – it feels like the minute you’re done, more leaves appear. Save your back and your time by mowing leaves instead. Not only is it easier and quicker, but it will also chop the leaves into small fragments that will act as a natural mulch and fertiliser when they decompose.

Grow in raised beds

<p>B&Q</p><p>B&Q</p>

Whether you’re determined to grow your own vegetables or simply want the challenge of keeping a collection of bright flowers alive, growing in a raised bed can be really helpful for the beginner gardener. Raised beds look neat and organised and you’ll be able to control everything from the soil to the location. It’s easier to keep out weeds and pests, too – plus it’s kinder on your back!

Use newspaper to kill weeds

<p>Billion Photos / Shutterstock</p><p>Billion Photos / Shutterstock</p>

Billion Photos / Shutterstock

Did you know you can use damp newspaper to smother weeds by starving them of light? It takes a little time to spread the paper around your plants, but it means an end to the back-breaking work of pulling these horticultural pests out of the ground. Plus, it’s pesticide-free.

The best part is that the newspaper will decompose into mulch, which also feeds the soil. Follow this step-by-step guide to the process.

Use white vinegar to kill weeds

<p>Floki / Shutterstock</p><p>Floki / Shutterstock</p>

Forget expensive weed killers and use white vinegar to kill weeds creeping through cracks in paths and patios.

Fill a spray bottle and liberally apply to the offending plant, repeating the next day. The weeds should turn brown and die within a few days. Apply with caution, though, because the vinegar may harm your other plants.

Grow carrots in bins

<p>135pixels / Shutterstock</p><p>135pixels / Shutterstock</p>

One of the easiest ways to grow your own vegetables is to sow carrot seeds directly into a clean bin that’s been filled with compost. Make three-inch planting holes around three inches apart and place three carrot seeds in each, before covering them with soil. Water well throughout the summer and your carrots should be ready within two-and-a-half months.

Use the Square Foot Gardening Method

<p>Ivonne Wierink / Shutterstock</p><p>Ivonne Wierink / Shutterstock</p>

Ivonne Wierink / Shutterstock

The Square Foot Gardening Method is estimated to cost 50% less than single row gardening, according to the Square Foot Gardening Foundation. It also uses 20% less space, requires 10% of the water and only 2% of the work, which makes it a very enticing option for those with limited outdoor space, time and knowledge.

Essentially, the method sees you divide a raised planter into square sections, inside which you can grow a different vegetable or herb. It will allow you to focus your efforts in one place. Stagger your planting so that the task doesn’t become overwhelming and you can have fresh food growing all summer, with minimum effort required.

Buy a garden kneeler

<p>Annabel James</p><p>Annabel James</p>

Whether you’re a pro or an amateur gardener, a kneeler is a must-have item. They come in all shapes, sizes and styles, from simple foam cushions to deluxe padded benches on wheels, taking the pressure off your knees and providing a little extra comfort when you’re weeding or sowing. With all that stooping and kneeling, your joints will thank you in the long run. Plus, you’re less likely to get your trousers dirty, especially if the ground is wet.

Plant seedlings in egg boxes

<p>FotoHelin / Shutterstock</p><p>FotoHelin / Shutterstock</p>

Did you know that it’s incredibly easy – and inexpensive – to germinate seeds in empty egg boxes that you would otherwise recycle? Not only are egg boxes small, compartmentalised and easy to handle, but “the shape of an egg carton makes it easy to situate on a sunny windowsill” and depending on the type of carton, “you may be able to put it right in the ground with the seedling and let it decompose in the soil”, explains Mary Ellen Ellis of Gardening Know How. Plus, you can write directly on the egg box, to keep your seeds organised.

Plant seedlings in eggshells

<p>Pedal to the Stock / Shutterstock</p><p>Pedal to the Stock / Shutterstock</p>

Pedal to the Stock / Shutterstock

You can also take it one step further and recycle your kitchen scraps by using them to grow new seedlings. Empty egg shells are ideal to use, as they can be transferred into flower beds when the seedlings are ready, where they’ll naturally decompose.

Other organic planters you can try include avocado skins, half a citrus fruit with the flesh removed and even toilet roll holders, which will break down over time.

Grow in storage tubs

<p>Andriana Syvanych / Shutterstock</p><p>Andriana Syvanych / Shutterstock</p>

Andriana Syvanych / Shutterstock

Plastic storage bins make great tubs for growing. They are super cheap and easy to carry, plus semi-opaque versions will give you a sneak peek at the roots, too. Be sure to pierce holes in the bottom and add gravel to the base for drainage.

 

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